County purchases open space for the right price
SUMMIT COUNTY – The price was right for more open space in Summit County. For five years, Summit County government and community groups have tried to purchase 27 acres connecting the 69.4-acre Mesa Cortina/Wildernest buffer and the 26-acre open space property owned by the town of Silverthorne.The owner of the 27 acres, Florida resident Beryl Bashore, had originally listed the price near the $800,000 range, according to Todd Robertson, Summit County Open Space and Trails director. But, when the price dropped to $335,000, area agencies realized their chances at protecting it as open space were dwindling.So, they acted. With Summit County funding 80 percent of the purchase, and with help from the town of Silverthorne, Buffalo Mountain Metro District, Mesa Cortina Water and Sanitation District, Cortina Property Owners Association, and Cortina Ridge Property Owners Association, the deal was made to purchase the land.
“The quantity and breadth of funding partners that have joined the county in this effort is unprecedented,” Robertson said.More funding could be on the way. Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) could fund up to 50 percent of the purchase, depending on the outcome of the county’s open space grant application submitted in early March. GOCO will announce grant winners in June, according to Robertson.”We couldn’t wait to hear the word from GOCO,” Robertson said. “We likely would have lost the chance to buy the property.”
The deal survived many attempts at development, Robertson added. It was targeted by a variety of development proposals, including a mini-storage complex, commercial development and residential condos.As open space, the property will provide several opportunities for trail users. A natural surface trail identified as significant in the Lower Blue Master Plan crosses the property. The final segment of the Ryan Gulch Road Pathway is scheduled to be built along the eastern edge of the property in 2006. The property also may be utilized as part of the Silverthorne loop trail.
Summit County’s Open Space program, in existence since 1995, has been involved in the protection of over 11,000 acres to date. The county’s share of this latest acquisition was funded through an open space property tax mill levy approved by county voters in 1999 that sunsets in 2009.Ryan Slabaugh can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 257, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
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